Actor Hill Harper joins Crenshaw students for book signing

imageStudents at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles unveiled a book Wednesday that they wrote about their year-long effort to visit the White House.

The students signed copies of their book, “Journey to the White House: An Educational Blueprint for Change in Action,” alongside actor Hill Harper from CSI: NY. Harper was also signing copies of his books “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny” and “Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny.”

“We’re all in this together,” Harper said of his passion for helping students. “Education is what we need to be focused on.”

The student authors are part of the Crenshaw Digital Media Team that meets after school to learn about photography, video and other media tools. Their book is being published both in paper and as an eBook.

The journey began when their teacher and mentor Daphne Bradford, founder of the non-profit organization Mother of Many challenged her students to become the type of 21st century classroom that President Obama envisioned in his 2010 Blueprint for Change in Education.

The students wrote letters to the President asking to be invited to the White House. When their requests when unanswered, they decided they needed to make a bigger impression.

They put their multimedia skills to use and created video letters and burned them to a disc, that Bradford was able to hand directly to President Obama when he was in Los Angeles for a rally.

“Once we got invited to come, we had to fund-raise and we made calendars and went around to businesses and organizations,” said Trestan Fairweather, a 17-year-old senior at Crenshaw High School.

When the students got to the White House In September of 2010, they were given a tour by the White House chef and they established a partnership with the White House kitchen to start growing food at home to better the community.

Fairweather’s first impression of the White House was just how enormous it was.

“It was very, very, very big,” he said. “Almost too big for just one family.”

The students also met with the President’s web team who showed them how the White House media presence — Twitter, Facebook, photos, etc. — is run.

“They had really cool advice on how to run our own media too,” Fairweather said.

The book signing was sponsored by the NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood chapter.

“We felt this was another opportunity to help these students see a different future for themselves,” said the chapter president Ron Hasson. “We thought Harper could really relate to the kids and give back.”

Order hard copies of the book at ($25.00), digital book purchase for $19.99 at the Barnes and Noble Nook store, iBookstore and ePub at

Dorsey culinary student wins scholarship

Carlos Cordero, a senior at Dorsey High School in South Los Angeles received a $2,300 college scholarship from Careers through Culinary Arts Program(C-CAP) to further his culinary dreams.  When LAUSD decided to cut funding for C-CAP, students at Dorsey High School were able to keep participating through a generous donation from Mother Of Many (M.O.M.). 

Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) works with public schools across the country to prepare under-served high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry.  C-CAP manages the largest independent high school culinary scholarship program in the United States.

Carlos is among the students who will join the Dorsey Culinary Arts Program and Crenshaw Digital Media team’s visit to the White House.  Click here for information on the Journey to the White House.


From left to right:  Richard Grausman (C-CAP Founder/President), Carlos Cordero (Dorsey/M.O.M. Student), Erevetta Marzette (Dorsey Culinary Instructor), Daphne Bradford (Mother Of Many, Dorsey C-CAP co-sponsor), Tracy Rivera (Dorsey Student), Mitzie Cutler (C-CAP Director, Los Angeles) />

Journey to the White House

There is no digital divide when Daphne Bradford is around. Bradford, a digital media educator at Crenshaw High School, has been working with a group of students over the past year to teach them digital media skills and to understand the power those skills will give them. For kids from South Los Angeles, reared amid poverty, gang violence and educational challenges, the election of the nation’s first African American president is a powerful symbol. The message of hope that Barack Obama represents inspired Bradford to begin a campaign to take her students to the White House. They will not stop until the President and First Lady invite the digital media team to visit them at the White House. With the help of the John Lennon Educational Bus, the Crenshaw digital media team members have produced a video letter to President Obama. Stay tuned to find out when they meet their goal and head to Washington DC.